I was reminded of some important lessons in overcoming temptation this morning by reading about how Jesus resisted and overcame temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). The Bible tells us, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin!” (Hebrews 4:15 ESV) Since that is true, Jesus then becomes our supreme teacher in how to resist and overcome temptation.
Jesus was tempted by the devil in at least 3 different ways – ways that mirror ways that we are tempted. He was tempted by what his natural self desired, and even needed – hunger. He was tempted to do something foolish – throw himself down from the temple pinnacle and “test” God. And finally he was tempted by power and pride. All of these are ways in which you and I are tempted!
How did Jesus overcome these temptations? In three ways…
- By knowing what God’s word, the Bible, actually says and teaches.
- By reminding the tempter, satan, and Himself, of what God’s word teaches. (It is interesting that Jesus refused to accept satan’s distorted use of God’s word in His second temptation)
- And finally, by choosing to live by and embrace what God’s word teaches.
I am convinced that by doing these very things – the things that Jesus did when he was tempted – we will be supernaturally enabled, not only to resist temptation, but to overcome it! Gotta tell you – I know we need His help, don’t we? But we also have the promise of God’s word… “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure (and overcome) it! (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV) And to that I say… Praise the Lord!